The Evolution of Blogging (in my observations at least)

28 04 2010

I think my first experience with blogging was in the summer of 2003.  I was working as an intern at some large company, doing about 30 minutes of work during an 8-hour day.  I needed to keep myself entertained somehow.

This was when the concept of blogging was still nascent.  I created a few on Blogspot, mostly just throwing random thoughts out there.  From there I progressed to Xanga (snark), which was interesting mainly because a lot of my friends were on there.  About half a year or so later I discovered LiveJournal (once it became open to the public and didn’t need an invite from someone).

Back in those days, “blogging” seemed to consist of two things:

  1. Filling out ridiculous surveys that you got from someone else’s “blog,” or
  2. Typical high school complaining about life.

The closest thing to the current state of blogging that I remember was the various LiveJournal communities, which I was a somewhat-active participant on.  I occasionally posted on the political ones, although my utter disregard for serious debate got me quickly blacklisted from some of the more active ones.

Eventually, however, LiveJournal lost its vogue (I had left Xanga in the dust long ago, as it had quickly devolved into the MySpace of blogging — an excuse for 16-year-old girls to throw the most godawful Javascript and layouts in their site in hopes of being unique).  Somewhere around 2007 was when I just stopped caring — my close friends had since stopped being as active or moved on, and those that remained weren’t entertaining enough to keep up with.  Facebook made it easier to catch up on what my friends were doing, and it seemed a futile effort to write some lengthy post only for nobody to acknowledge.

However, I will give sites like LiveJournal credit — they made it easy to have some semblance of privacy.  Most blogs today are out in the open, and while writing under a pseudonym may work for some (such as the infamous Allahpundit), I have read enough news articles to know that “outing” bloggers is a common occurrence.

One thing that has been lost in the current blogosphere is the personal nature of it.  Most of the blogs that I read tend to gloss over what the blogger is feeling inside (well, except for a few law student blogs, but their focus is not on inner feelings).  Obviously, most blogs out there revolve around a certain topic of discussion (politics, technology, etc.), and the blogger uses his space more to opine on worldly happenings and not on what’s going on in his world.

I think that blogging, however, is the next wave of news, or at least of discourse.  It is not uncommon on sites such as National Review Online to see bloggers respond to each others’ posts, and we all remember the “epistemic closure” brouhaha of the past few days.  I have started reading McCullough’s John Adams and it astounds me how prolific these early Americans were despite being hamstrung by the delays of the mail system.  I wonder how Thomas Jefferson and John Adams’ correspondence would have been if they had the benefit of e-mails, or how Paine’s Common Sense would be critiqued had it been posted on TypePad and not a pamphlet.

Another benefit I see to blogging is the ability to fact-check.  Where in times past a public figure could say something outrageous and not care about its falsity, today we have hordes of self-described “watchdogs” dissecting every sentence someone says to see if it’s true or not.

Maybe I’m just nostalgic for a simpler time, when blogging was a fad and not something taken seriously by millions.  Or maybe I’m just rambling.

I wonder what’s next for this platform of discussion.  Video blogs are already taking off, how much farther can technology progress?

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6 responses

28 04 2010
humarashid

Hah. Your path through the world of blogging was the same as mine. A couple random ones on Blogspot, which I always forgot the password/username to. Xanga in high school because all my friends were there (my javascript/css background was very minimalist, in shades of crimson, cream, and black, with no tacky effects or anything, thank you very much), which I quit when the Drama Llama descended in the form of my best friend’s older brother being a dick (which is actually hilarious now that I look back on it), and then LiveJournal, which I was really big on and loved because of all the communities that hosted copyrighted things illegally, and then WordPress.

Next, I think I’ll just do video blog posts that consist entirely of pantomimes, all of which I will copyright. That’s really where I think all this is heading.

28 04 2010
Chris

The one thing I hated about Xanga was that it required a log-in to comment, which was always a problem when I deactivated my original account and wanted to troll other people’s accounts. LiveJournal’s biggest draw is the community blogs, but I hardly go there anymore, and I think I’ve made maybe 2 posts in the last 3 years.

28 04 2010
Chris

It’s only a matter of time before video chat rooms filled with political pundits shouting at each other are considered “live group blogging” or something like that. It’s getting out of control, and the people who want to use it for a serious purpose to deliver meaningful content (translation: the way I want my blog to be) are getting left in the dust. And it sucks.

28 04 2010
Chris

Protip: http://bloggingheads.tv has some pretty cool and civil political debates. Well, most of them are.

30 04 2010
idwsj

It seems I have missed the trend. Now I’m behind in fashion and blawging.

Crap.

30 04 2010
Chris

Not really, not wearing skinny jeans always keeps you ahead of the trend. 😉

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